Taxpayer Bill of Rights Needed Now More than Ever

Read the full report | The dramatic disparity between the growth in private versus public sector employment in Maine illustrates the need for the Taxpayer Bill of Rights provision which will be on the November ballot. Consider these facts:

• Data from the Maine Department of Labor reveals that there are fewer private sector workers in Maine today than there were a decade ago. As shown in Chart 1 and Table 1, over the last decade Maine’s private sector has lost 13,000 workers.

Since the recession began in January 2008, Maine’s private sector has lost 22,700 workers.

• In stark contrast, Maine’s state and local governments have added 3,400 employees over the last decade. To put it another way, for every additional state and local government employee added, four private sector workers lost their jobs.

• This public sector job growth has been driven by out-of-control government spending. From FY 2000 to FY 2008, total state expenditures grew $2 billion, from $4.7 billion to $6.8 billion – a runaway spending increase of 45 percent!

• This unsustainable state spending is fueled, in part, by a bloated state workforce. In 2007, Maine state government had 4,497 more workers than needed, by national standards, costing Maine’s taxpayers an additional $189,451,468 in taxes.

Clearly, the only long-term solution for controlling this kind of runaway government spending is the Taxpayer Bill of Rights initiative, which, if passed by voters this November, will allow taxpayers to decide if government should grow faster than the economy’s ability to create jobs for private sector workers.

About the author

J. Scott Moody is the Chief Executive Officer of MHPC. Scott has over 15 years of economic policy research and economic modeling experience from his work with The Tax Foundation and The Heritage Foundation. He has authored and co-authored over 150 published articles and books. He has testified twice before the House Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. Congress.